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National
Arundhati, 23 other writers, filmmakers return National Awards
05-11-2015

New Delhi: Author Arundhati Roy and 23 other National Award-winning writers and filmmakers, including Saeed Mirza and Kundan Shah, on Thursday said they are returning their awards as a "symbolic gesture" to draw the country's attention to their fears in the "current atmosphere".

Saeed Mirza, a screenwriter and director of Hindi films and television series, won the National Award in 1996 for his film ‘Naseem’. Fellow filmmaker Kundan Shah also announced that he would return the National Award he received for the iconic 1983 film “Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron”.

Other artistes and writers who signed the resolution included Sanjay Kak, Ajay Raina, Tapan Bose, Ranjan Palit and Anwar Jamal.

Roy, in an article published in the Indian Express, said she was returning her 1989 National Award for Best Screenplay for TV film 'In Which Annie Gives It Those Ones', starring Shah Rukh Khan, to protest "ideological viciousness" in the country.

She said she was not shocked by what was happening in the nation. She termed the lynching of a man over beef-eating rumour in Dadri in Uttar Pradesh as a "deeper malaise".

"These horrific murders are only a symptom of a deeper malaise. Life is hell for the living too. Whole populations - millions of Dalits, adivasis, Muslims and Christians - are being forced to live in terror, unsure of when and from where the assault will come," she said.

In the article, she referred to her action of returning the Sahitya Akademi Award in 2005 when the Congress was in power and asked to be spared of the "old Congress-versus-BJP debate".

"It has gone way beyond all that," she said.

After the Dadri incident, over 40 writers, artistes and 10 filmmakers have returned their awards to record their protest over the rising incidents of intolerance in the country. (With inputs from agencies)